Employees and employee performance are utterly crucial to the financial and overall success of any organization, large or small.
When workplace productivity is low, your business will suffer.
Employee productivity is inextricably linked to employee engagement; the happier they feel, the harder they will work.
If we are completely honest with ourselves, we all know at least one company that someone we know works at, and it has a horrible reputation. We’ve heard our friend talk about it; about how uncomfortable it is there, how unsupportive the bosses are, how they never tell them what is going on and how your friend wishes they could work someone else.
You know what else, that company probably isn’t doing very well; and even if it is, it will never be able to sustain a decent performance rate and overcome the challenges it will face. The problem is that a company like that doesn’t know how to engage its employees and foster their productivity.
The reality is that no company, small or large, can afford to ignore its most valuable resource, its employees. They are the absolute linchpin to its success or failure, and by underinvesting in or ignoring this resource, you are ultimately going to cost your company money it can’t afford to lose.
Except for brands whose product just isn’t required anymore, like video rental businesses who have most likely collapsed with or without good employee productivity (thanks Netflix!), every organization needs to find their way of increasing employee productivity in the workplace to guarantee their success.
So, what causes poor employee productivity?
Several key factors can contribute to low employee productivity, and they are relatively easy to spot once you know what you are looking for. Eagled-eyed managers who understand the importance of employee performance in their bottom line growth should keep their ear to the ground for the following warning signs:
- Poor communication: Errors in communication, which most likely stem from poor management styles, can be catastrophic for a company. According to a study by Harvard Business Review over 70% of employees feel more engaged (and therefore more encouraged to perform) when senior leadership continually updates and communicates company strategy. Nobody likes to work in an environment where they feel like their hard work isn’t contributing to anything of substance.
- Low engagement: If employees don’t feel engaged, this won’t be difficult to spot. There will be an atmosphere of low morale, gossiping, and high absentee and sick day usages. If employees can’t wait to leave the office and are spending the whole afternoon looking at their watches, they probably aren’t giving their job their all.
- Insufficient learning opportunities: institutional experience from long-term employees is invaluable to any organization, but that doesn’t mean they are always able to ‘learn on the job.’ Insufficient training provisions can leave your employees floundering, unsure of how to proceed and incapable of speaking up.
- Ineffective policies: If employees keep facing unnecessary roadblocks or unjustifiable policy statutes, they will feel hemmed into an organization that doesn’t listen or adapt.
What are the costs of low workplace productivity?
$7 trillion. Yup. You read that correctly. Gallup’s ‘State of the Global Workforce’ report found that just over 15% of employees feel engaged, and since engagement is inextricably linked to productivity, that lost productivity costs the global economy around $7 trillion per year. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
How much more could you be getting out of your employees if they felt more invested in your organization?
According to Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, “There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”
How can you improve your employee productivity?
Well, as Entrepreneur Magazine puts it, “employee productivity is a direct outcome of how they are being treated at the organization,” so, in a nutshell, improving workplace productivity is largely the responsibility of the company and the management staff.
Since we have established the clear financial benefits of improving work productivity, here are some key ways in which you can increase employee productivity in the workplace:
- Communicate more effectively: A study by McKinsey found that emails can take up nearly 28% of an employee’s time and that doesn’t even compare to the time they can get distracted by seeking administrative information. By utilizing social networking tools and HR software that centralize information for everyone to access changes and updates, companies can drastically cut down on the time-consuming elements that are costing money and open up employees to focus on the tasks that make more of a difference to the bottom line.
- Recognize and reward: as we discussed in our article on maintaining strong employee retention, is it vital, as an employer, that you can acknowledge hard work or good performance in your workforce. More and more individual site recognition from employers as a key factor in their job satisfaction levels.
- Training goes a long way: Properly trained employees, who are given access to the right courses and software, are far more likely to perform their jobs to a higher standard, require less supervision and feel supported and invested in by the company and therefore more inclined to work harder. Remember what Leonardo da Vinci said, “Learning never exhausts the mind.”
- Be more efficient: This might appear to be a seemingly innocuous element to getting the best from your employees, but you would be surprised at how impactful even the slightest organizational or procedural change could be. Take your HR team for instance. Are they spending too much time fruitlessly trying to gather data or bogged down by administrative paperwork? By implementing a state of the art HR software such as Aqeed People, you would not only be providing your company with the latest tools to manage a variety of HR functions that your employees could access more regularly, but you would be freeing up the time of your HR team to spend on more productive tasks, such as engaging your employees properly.
These are some of the essential productivity tools that could make a big difference to your brand and its profitability.
Don’t get stuck in the mud and forget the importance of your employees, if you support them, they will work ten times hard for you, and their maximum productivity will pay dividends in your financial future.